In his Spring Statement, the Chancellor does not traditionally make significant new policy announcements. Instead he provides an update to the Commons on the government’s economic forecasts and the state of the public finances.
In her letter to Mr Sunak, NFU President Minette Batters provided a frank assessment of the economic outlook for British agriculture given the significant challenges faced by the sector.
Food production – impacts already
She updated him on the impact the Russian invasion of Ukraine is already having on British agriculture. She also highlighted the likely effect the invasion will have on global food production, food supply chains and the availability and affordability of food for consumers both in this country and throughout the world.
Minette said that government attention is rightly focused on attempting to resolve the crisis but that, going forward, she sincerely hoped that the government will take the necessary action to prioritise national and global food security. She outlined a number of steps she believes the government can take to enable British farm businesses to maintain their capacity to produce food in the months and years ahead.
- preserving, protecting and prioritising gas supplies for food production and processing
- encouraging and supporting banks to lend to farm businesses
- conducting an urgent review of the current immigration system to ensure Britain’s food producers can access the labour they need
- enacting policies which support farmers to provide nutrients to their crops.